Dylan Gardner is an 18-year-old musician with a talent of blending the old with the new. His old-style rock instrumental coupled with modern lyrics is enough to make me bob my head along to the music.
Three songs in particular stand out. Gardner’s “Too Afraid to Love” sounds similar to the American Authors’s “Best Day of My Life” without sounding exactly like it. The tune is familiar enough that audiences are drawn to the rhythm, but not obvious enough to distract from Gardner’s own lyrics and message. The beginning of Gardner’s “The Actor” instantly reminded me of a classic Queen or Beatles beat, and “Sing For the Stars” brought me back to dancing and singing along to Styx in the kitchen with my dad while we washed dishes or cooked dinner. The fact that an 18-year-old can bring me, a 90’s, not a 70’s, born girl back to the 70’s, is an incredible feat.
Song styles aside, Gardner also possesses an amazing control of his pitch and breath that some older, more famous musicians don’t even have. When Gardner sings with his lower register, his voice takes on a sort of raspy, grainy twang. His voice is so different from other modern artists that it’s hard not to appreciate.
All-in-all, Gardner is a breath of fresh air and his debut album “Adventures in Real Time” deserves a listen. Out of ten stars, I would rate this album at an eight. The beat and singing is fantastic, but the actual lyrics used are too simple and follow the common Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus pattern. Gardner has the potential to create something unique and different and challenge him to expand on his lyrical writing.